SANDY Lanham did not think the sacrifice made by David Black and Allan Tull should be forgotten.
Her two-year effort to have these two men acknowledged is now for all to see.
A memorial obelisk, which includes photos of David Black and Allan Tull, now stands proudly in front of the Ulladulla Civic Centre.
Sadly, Joseph Tull was in the process of planning his wedding when his dad died.
Sandy, the day before Allan Tull died in August 2018, had watched the aerial bombardment of a bushfire near Milton with her husband Peter.
"I thought as time goes by, it's natural that people will forget but these families will never, ever forget," Sandy, a Burrill Lake resident, said.
"I felt it [the sacrifice] should not be forgotten and there should be something here to represent what the community felt and feels in relation to what these two men gave - they gave their lives and lost their lives.
"It's a way for the community to say to the families 'we acknowledge your loss and we honour the lives that these two men lost'."
Allan's fiancée Sheila Ryken and David Black's widow Julie and their three children all saw the obelisk and were involved in the process before anything was made public.
"Both families are lovely down to earth people," Sandy said.
"It means a lot to them that our community wanted to do a memorial for their loved ones.
"It also gives them somewhere to go here.
"Sheila is looking forward to coming down and seeing it and talking to Allan in front of it."
The Black family also wants to come to Ulladulla and see the obelisk.
A message on Facebook to Mayor of Shoalhaven City Amanda Findley, from Sandy, plus lots of comments from the community was how the process started.
The obelisk is not just for the Rural Fire Service - which is why Sandy said it was described as a front line memorial which takes in the likes of police, ambulance, SES, NSW Fire Service and surf lifesaving personnel.
A working party is being formed which will work out who will receive acknowledgement in the future.
Sandy will be part of the working party.
Policies and procedures will also be formed by the working party.
Meanwhile, Tom Law did all the stonework - at a discounted rate, while coming up with the design and purchasing the granite.
Funds came from donations, a GoFundMe page and government grants.
Sandy saw the obelisk a week-and-a-half ago.
"The day I came down with Tom to put David and Allan's plaques on, I had tears in my eyes - it was emotional," she said,
There were moments when things got hard but Sandy just pushed on.
"It has been quite an emotional journey for me to reach this point," she said.
"At times, I wondered if it would happen but I refused to give up.
"If it brings tears to my eyes looking at the memorial, I can only imagine what it is going to be like for the families when they see it - the same for the community."
The community got a say on where the obelisk should go and the majority wanted it to go in front of the Civic Centre.
Ulladulla Civic Centre manager Michelle Babington said people had already been stopping and paying their respects in front of the memorial.
"I think the community has voiced how popular they think it is, so I congratulate Sandy on what she has been able to achieve," Michelle said.
"I have noticed a lot of people put on the grounds looking at it and I think I had 500 likes or comments on the Facebook page on how amazing this is and that it's finally been done.
"It's all down to the hard work put in by Sandy over the last couple of years."
Sandy said she had received help from many people.
She would like to thank her family and friends, Sarah Taylor from Shoalhaven City Council, Michelle Babington, Mayor Amanda Findley, Tom Law, engineer Jack Metzler, many other individuals and community groups.
They hope to get an opportunity to hold a ceremony in the future, depending on COVID-19 travel restrictions for the New Zealand based Tull family and Sheila Ryken.
Donations came from Mark Harrold Managing Director/Chief Pilot - Sydney Helicopters, Aaron Finn CEO Nautilus Aviation, community members who donated to the GoFundMe page and Federal Member for Gilmore Fiona Phillips got the project grant funding.
David Black 24-10-2013
Allan Tull 17-8-2018